Taiwan’s leader in the Americas

Taiwan’s leader in the Americas

On Saturday, Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, will depart for a nine-day visit to allies Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Photo: EPA

Photo: EPA

On Saturday, Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, will depart for a nine-day visit to allies Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Taiwan is seeking to strengthen relations with the remaining 21 countries that recognise it; Sao Tome and Principe severed ties in favour of mainland China in December.

Ms Tsai will also visit the US, with a stop in Houston on Jan. 7 and San Francisco on Jan. 13. Washington has declined to block her passage despite repeated requests from Beijing. The US mission in Taiwan stated the stopovers are based on an unofficial relationship between the US and Taiwan and do not contradict US acknowledgement of the ‘one China’ position.

In the spotlight for his recent conversation with Ms Tsai, US President-elect Donald Trump said he expected a favourable trade deal from Beijing in return for continued recognition of the ‘one China’ policy.

But Mr Trump is playing with fire. China views the policy as the bedrock of its foreign policy; if the Trump administration diverges from the current US position, Beijing is expected to respond with hostile measures.